What to Know About the Personal Electronics Ban on Flights

22 Mar 2017

On Tuesday 21 March 2017 the US government announced that certain electronic devices will be forbidden in the cabins of particular flights from the Middle East and North Africa, to the USA. The UK government followed suit some hours later.

UK Electronics Ban

What flights are affected?

Customers travelling on direct services to the UK from any port in the following six countries will not be permitted to carry most electronic devices in the cabin with them:

  • Egypt
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Jordan
  • Tunisia
  • Lebanon
  • Turkey

What electronic devices are banned?

People on these flights will not be permitted to carry most electronic items that are larger than a smartphone in the cabin with them. These items must be placed in their checked luggage.

  • Tablets / iPads / Kindles / e readers – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Laptops - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Cameras and lenses – please check with the airline directly regarding specifications
  • Portable DVD players - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Electronic game devices - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Travel printers and scanners - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm

Can people take their mobile / cell phone on board with them?

Yes. Customers may carry their smartphones and mobile/cell phones on board with them. They must ensure that these have enough battery power to be turned on and checked at airport security.

What airlines are affected by this ban?

Any carrier that flies directly between any port in the countries listed above and any UK port.

When does the ban take effect?

The UK government has not specified a start date for the new regulations but will leave to the airlines to begin enforcement. We advise to assume it is effective immediately.

USA Electronics Ban

What flights are affected?

Customers travelling on direct services to the USA from any of the following ten cities will not be permitted to carry most electronic devices in the cabin with them:

  • Abu Dhabi, UAE (AUH)
  • Dubai, UAE (DXB)
  • Amman, Jordan (AMM)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (IST)
  • Cairo, Egypt (CAI)
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (JED)
  • Casablanca, Morocco (CAS)
  • Kuwait City, Kuwait (KWI)
  • Doha, Qatar (DOH)
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (RUH)

What electronic devices are banned?

People on these flights will not be permitted to carry most electronic items that are larger than a smartphone in the cabin with them. These items must be placed in their checked luggage.

  • Tablets / iPads / Kindles / e readers – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Laptops - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Cameras and lenses – please check with the airline directly regarding specifications
  • Portable DVD players - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Electronic game devices - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Travel printers and scanners - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm

Can people take their mobile / cell phone on board with them?

Yes. Customers may carry their smartphones and mobile/cell phones on board with them. They must ensure that these have enough battery power to be turned on and checked at airport security.

What airlines are affected by this ban?

Any carrier that flies directly between one of the cities listed above and any US port. There are no US carriers impacted as none fly these routes.

When does the ban take effect?

The airlines were notified at 03:00 ET on Tuesday 21 March and were advised that they have 96 hours to comply. This will be the airlines’ responsibility to manage and failure to comply within the four days could result in their licence to enter the USA being revoked.

All affected carriers have advised that they will comply.

Why have these new rules been introduced?

These new rules are in response to what these governments feel are credible terrorist threats.

Please note:

  • These bans apply to all passengers on these services, regardless of nationality.
  • There will be exceptions for medical equipment – please discuss with your airline.
  • Customers will only be affected if their service between the named ports is direct.
  • At this time, the rulings do not apply to flights in reverse - from the USA or UK to these ports.
  • This ban is currently open-ended

Will my electronics be safe in the hold of the aircraft?

Customers are advised to pack their electronics securely and separately in their check-in luggage and ensure that they are in secure cases or protected from movement or knocks. We recommend that you discuss this and the general security of your items with your carrier or refer to the airline’s website.

If you are affected by this ban and would like to change the route of your flight to the US or UK, please speak to your Flight Centre Travel Expert. At this time, normal change and cancellation fees will apply.


For more details on the electronics ban, please refer to your Flight Centre Travel Expert or the airline you have booked with.